Loving V. Virginia, Introduction, Facts, Legal Background

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Loving v. Virginia
Interracial marriage: Respecting the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.


This case note will examine the 1967 landmark Supreme Court case of Loving v. Virginia. The Loving v. Virginia case touched on constitutional principles including equality, federalism, and liberty. Just over 30 years ago, it was a crime for interracial couples in Virginia to marry, or to live as husband and wife. Prior to the 1967 case of Loving v. Virginia, many states had laws that banned the intermarriage of whites with black or other minorities. The United States has a long history of the existence of anti-miscegenation laws that forbid interracial marriage. The case presents the
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If a law discriminates between one group of people and another, the government must have a rational basis for doing so. The Equal Protection Clause requires the deliberation of whether the classifications drawn by any statute constitute a discrimination. In the Loving v. Virginia case, the Supreme Court had to decide whether Virginia's anti-miscegenation statute, the "Racial Integrity Act of 1924", was unconstitutional. . In 1966, it was illegal to have an interracial relationship in seventeen states in the United States . In the late 19th century, almost thirty states had such prohibitions. Virginia was now one of 16 States which prohibit and punish marriages on the basis of racial classifications. The Racial Integrity Laws, which included the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, were a series of legislative efforts designed to protect "whiteness" the effects of immigration and race-mixing” . The Virginia's anti-miscegenation laws made the marriage "between a white person and a colored person a felony." The Lovings were convicted of violating § 20-58 of the Virginia Code, which contains the legal offense of "Leaving State to evade law” and "Punishment for marriage”. Other central provisions in the Virginia statutory scheme are § 20-57, which automatically voids all marriages between "a white person and a colored person" without any judicial proceeding .

In the Pace v. Alabama case in 1883, the

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